Sept. 8, 2008 — Rainy skies failed to put a damper on the opening Monday of the Adrian Senior Center at George Simmons Terrace. While more than 75 people gathered under a tent to hear good words from politicians and government officials, the seniors themselves were the stars.
Some stood and some less agile sat while they sang "Senior Citizens are Marching On."
"Meeting people at the center brings us joy beyond compare," Seniors in Harmony sang, to the tune of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
The seniors who use this center, one of two on St. John, had to move from their previous location at Calabash Boom in January 2006 because its front yard is the staging area for the affordable housing project now under construction. They used the cramped Human Services Department conference room in Cruz Bay until work on the Adrian Senior Center finished last month.
"We have waited too long to see this day," Eva J. Williams, who administers senior citizen affairs for Human Services, said.
While the senior center is open, there are still programs to put in place. An exercise program is planned and computers are on their way.
Several seniors said after the ribbon-cutting ceremony that they were looking forward to using the computers. Others said they wanted things like fencing around the property to keep out the stray livestock.
"Physical therapy and discussion of current events," St. John resident Beryl Samuel said, ticking off what she'd like to see.
Human Services Commissioner Chris Finch spoke about the need to keep seniors active and involved in their community.
"Our seniors are still learning," he said.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. pledged that buses to transport the seniors around St. John were on their way.
Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis made good on his promise to have the first dance with senior Eirleen January. He said in his remarks that he told January he'd dance with her at the center's grand opening when the two attended an organizational meeting earlier in the year.
He and others stressed the value of seniors.
"And one day we're going to be sitting where you are," Francis said.
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